Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread

I am fortunate to have a husband who will graciously eat whatever I prepare....not that he really has much of a choice in the matter. He loves and appreciates food, though at times getting ideas or recommendations for our upcoming meals can be a trial. So when he asked me a few days ago to try this bread, I couldn't refuse him.

adapted from the very witty blog post at The Pastry Affair

Yields 1 loaf

The Ingredients:
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups barely warm water
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose (or bread) flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

The Process:
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast and water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic. If you are doing this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley flakes, and minced garlic. Set aside.

Punch down the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough (roughly the size of the bowl of a medium spoon), coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a bundt pan. Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 3 layers. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve hot with a side of marinara or tomato sauce.

My Modifications:
In an effort to use up some of my pantry staples prior to a pending move, I baked with a combination of wheat and white flour. I believe in the end I used about 2 cups of white flour to 1 1/2 cups of wheat. This probably changed the flavor and texture of the final product more than I would like to admit.

And alas! I have no bundt pan. I crammed the little butter coated spheres into my glass bread pan, only to have it overflowing with bread-y garlic-y goodness once the yeast did its trick and the dough had doubled. Two-thirds of the amount of dough would have sufficed to fill the standard-sized pan. Oh how I'd love to add a bundt pan to my collection...

And I kneaded by hand. For 15 minutes.

The Result:
Bread typically defies me. It toys with my expectations. It will rise beautifully and double in glory only to flatten and dry out during baking. A success with cinamon rolls boasted my confidence, but after this most recent attempt at yeasty bread...well...I still have some work to do.

Oh the pull apart bread was wonderful. The little morsels separated from the loaf like tender little clouds, leaving behind a curl of aromatic steam. The bite-sized bits were tender, light and savory, but not overpoweringly so.

The biggest draw back was honestly in the pan. The loaf pan was not quite large enough for the entire yield. The top layer of garlicy bits was browned to a crunchy crisp while the subsequent layers took their sweet time to finish baking. For those who like the crusty ends of a loaf, these are a treat. The real gems were on the bottom. Soaking the the buttery goo that had seeped to the bottom of the pan.

This is a recipe well worth keeping. I just need to fine tune my baking skills.

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